Earlier this semester, I was talking with two architecture students who just made their decision to study abroad in Fall 2016. They said a lot of factors went into this decision, but what tipped the scales was a conversation they had with a student who just returned from studying abroad this past Fall semester. The amount of stories and level of excitement this student shared with them was all it took to seal the deal and make them realize this was an opportunity they did not want to pass up. I wasn’t surprised when they told me this student was Kamille Hampton, a senior in architecture.
I had a chance to catch up with Kamille to ask her about her trip abroad. They were right, her excitement was palpable. Now, where did I put my passport…
What is your Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Favorite food: Chipotle Chicken Bowl (The BEST)
Favorite song: Formation – Beyoncé
Favorite quote/motto: “I Rise” – Maya Angelou
What were you most nervous about prior to leaving for study abroad? I would say I was nervous about being submerged into a new culture but also very excited at the same time. Everyone has the fear of the unknown and I was dropping myself front and center into the abyss. Also being away from my family, knowing that I could not just hop on a train back to Worcester if I felt overwhelmed or needed to break to detach was hard. I was truly on my own. Though once I landed on foreign soil I no longer had those concerns, but was in fact just worried about NOT getting lost!
What were you most excited about? I was most excited about seeing the architecture, of course! I can say from experience everything we study in history lectures and on our own accord does not hold the same weight as when you see it in person. I suggest every student in architecture take the opportunity to go abroad because it is the best way to truly connect with the greats. Do not worry about the money, it is all in loans anyway! The knowledge gained and experiences made are more valuable and rich. Also the memories will last with you forever. The most impactful architecture that I was able to witness personally was Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, words do not do it justice.
Did the thing you were most nervous about end up impacting your trip? Being nervous of the unknown encouraged me to be open to everything, I should not be scared of things I am not accustomed to. I should embrace them. When it comes to lifestyles, food, culture, take it all in for what it is and you will truly gain a more positive experience. Meaning, do not go to bed at 12 am, instead that’s when your night begins!
Did you get to experience the thing you were most excited about? I did get the chance to experience many aspects of Europe and Berlin, but I am truly never finished. The list could go on forever. I think the best part about having an unfinished list is that it gives me more initiative to go back.
What was the single most amazing thing you experienced during your semester abroad? I went to the Architecture Expo of 2015 in Milan Italy. The theme was about how food and architecture come together, and those being my two favorite topics in the world, well MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN! The Pavilions were beautiful, the culture was rich and the food was amazing. Though I could not sample from each pavilion, but I tried!
Of the countries and cities you traveled to, if you could live in one for an entire year, which would it be and why? I would have to say Berlin or Barcelona. Those two were the ones in which I felt the most comfortable. I feel Berlin is so inviting and I truly was able to experience life there. By the end of my stay, I was truly saddened to leave, I became accustomed to the routine, the lifestyle. I felt like a Berliner. Barcelona, though I was only there for a brief time, was so vibrant, bright, and full of life. The city truly pulled me in, it was one of the most welcoming countries I have ever been in.
I often tell students that when you come back from studying abroad you will be a different person. Do you feel different? If so, how? I do feel different. I feel worldly, even though that sounds cheesy. I have seen things and done things I thought I would never do in my life! I have grown as an individual, being more independent and more knowledgeable about myself and what I want. When coming back though I did feel at a standstill. I had this amazing experience and was on the move 24/7, going to unknown locations. I went to so much ‘NEW’ to nothing. That was hard. It was almost as if I was at a standstill from my ‘go go go’ life. I did not even want to be back here, I wanted to continue my adventure, but it took a while for me to realize that instead of being sad just plan ahead.
Have you planned your next trip abroad? I have not, but the idea of traveling back to Europe has been on my mind since the day I landed back on American soil. I know I will make it back as soon as I achieve all my educational degrees.
How many stamps are in your passport? I received two stamps, one landing in the Netherlands and one coming back to the U.S.A. For some reason we never received stamps during out European travels.
Is there anything I didn’t ask but should have? YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR MONEY ON FOOD! DON’T BE ASHAMED, IT’S WORTH IT!
Thank you for sharing your adventures with us, Kamille! And, from one foodie to another, buon appetito!